Tuesday 21 January 2020

Suspected bomb defused in same area as shots fired on police

Michael McHugh

A bomb found by police investigating an attempt to murder three officers in West Belfast was on a pathway used as a shortcut by residents, the force revealed.

The device was discovered in Dunmurry as the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) conducted follow up searches after a gun attack narrowly missed police attending a call for help.

Residents who had been evacuated have been allowed to return to their houses but the force has disclosed the potential danger they had been in.

A PSNI spokesman said: "Police conducting follow up searches in the area yesterday afternoon discovered what was believed to be an explosive device on a pathway which may have been used as a shortcut by residents of Foxes Glen.

"Army Technical Officers (ATO) were tasked and following examination confirmed this to be a viable explosive device, which has been taken away for further forensic examination.

"It is believed this device was part of the attack on police.

Up to six shots were fired after police were lured to a bogus burglary in the area on Thursday.

The gun attack is being treated as attempted murder by police

A 26-year-old man arrested on Thursday night remains in police custody.

Ammunition and a number of replica firearms were recovered when police raided a number of properties in Belfast during follow-up operations. They have been taken away for forensic and ballistic examination.

No one was injured but the three officers - two men and a woman who at one point had to take refuge behind bins - were left badly shaken. All three were back at work yesterday.

A window on a car was smashed and residents dragged their children indoors following the attack.

The device was discovered yesterday afternoon in an area of green close to where officers came under attack.

An extensive cordon was put up around the area with armed officers and armoured Land Rovers manning the lines.Shortly after 7pm a controlled explosion was carried out and the security operation was wound down.

Residents from Foxes Glen have expressed anger at the length of time taken to detect and deal with the potentially lethal device.

According to the BBC, a dissident republican splinter group called Oglaigh na hEireann had claimed responsibility.Dissident republicans have attempted to kill several members of the security forces in Northern Ireland.

Oglaigh na hEireann is a title which has been used by a variety of groups and has been adopted by hardline factions opposed to the Northern Ireland peace process.

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